It is said there is sometimes an air of stuffiness at academic conferences, but the RCGP’s annual event displayed none.
Much of this must be down to charismatic chair Professor Clare Gerada, who was predictably the star this year, entering the fray draped in a union flag and Team GB tracksuit – an outfit inspired by the Olympics – to deliver her opening speech.
Although she was quick to warn of an NHS ‘in distress’, her speech retained an upbeat tone, paying homage to the ‘giants’ of the profession who had inspired her – including current president Dr Iona Heath – and also reminding GPs to remember that their job is ‘fun’.
With Sally Gunnell and Esther Rantzen also making appearances alongside speakers from Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and Palestine, and the president of the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners, the conference had a star-studded international vibe that seemed to transcend the sometimes parochial feel of British general practice – although there was still plenty of opportunity for GPs to get on their soapbox over competition, training, the QOF and other traditional bugbears.
And this was undoubtedly the conference where social media took over. Self-confessed Twitter fanatic Dr Gerada has inspired an army of tweeters, who participated in a session on the role of social media in the GP consultation – which briefly saw the hashtag ‘#RCGPSoMe’ trending in the UK.